Fine, practical, sustainable, authentic. Bicycles are a true classic that never gets old and stays as fresh today as it was one century ago. It’s no accident that RUBIROSA FW23 campaign features a bicycle to match the spirit of the brand and its idea of contemporary movement.
There is yet another analogy between bicycles and sneakers: both of them bring you roaming the world on a rubber coat. And this rubber has more colours than one might think.
Nowadays most people are used to have no other than black bike tires on their rides and they simply assume that this is the only option they have. Yet the real passionate know that this had been not the case in the past, and still is not for many people.
In facts, the first pneumatic tires for bikes were made from natural rubber, which is normally white or light brown, and therefore for many years the tires themselves used to normally be white or brownish.
By the 1910s tires manufacturers discovered that adding carbon black to the rubber increases abrasion resistance, strength and grip to the tires, while collaterally turning the rubber black. Competitive racers, who shoot at highest speeds down the asphalted roads for miles and miles, turned to the new black tires pretty fast. Nevertheless, for those who used bikes mostly for commute or pleasure white or para tires remained the standard.
This was the case unless until post-war mass motorization, when the new predominance of dirty asphalted roads showed white tires not being so practical anymore.
The answer then was a bi-colour tire: black treads to dissimulate grime and coloured walls for aesthetical reasons. Interestingly the preferred colours for walls became then white and para, precisely the ones that resembled the old fashion tires.
During the Fifties many premium bikes displayed a combination of para treads and white walls, that had been popular in bike racing three decades earlier.
In France and Italy especially, red tires were very popular as well, starting from the first decades until at least mid-century.
It doesn’t come as a surprise then that other-than-black tires are nowadays highly valued among the vintage bicycle’ lovers as the perfect complement to appropriately styling their ride. Because the mark of a true connoisseur is in the attention to the details.
And just as for the court sneakers outsole, some enthusiasts have been staying faithful to the full white tire all the way long.